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Schizophrenia Treatments Notes

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AO1 - Description
 Antipsychotic drugs are used to control dopamine levels in the brain.
 There are two types of antipsychotics

1. Typical - older and more widely used - block dopamine receptors tto reduce dopamine activity and reduce positive symptoms such as delusions of grandeur.

2. Atypical - e.g. chlorpromazine, newer but used less often. They act on serotonin as well as dopamine levels in the brain, affecting negative symptoms of the disorder as well. They only temporarily occupy the dopamine receptors, therefore causing less side effects.
 The drugs take a while to change neurotransmitter levels in the brain. Evidence Davis et al (1989): Antipsychotics and Placebos - to find if antipsychotic drugs are really effective or not. Procedure: Meta-analysis of over 100 studies that compared antipsychotics with placebos. Findings: More than 70% of sufferers treated with antipsychotics improved in condition after 6 weeks while less than 25% improved with placebos. Conclusion: Suggests that antipsychotics have a beneficial medical effect despite side effects.
 This gives support for the effectiveness of antipsychotics as there is reduced chance of relapsing when taking the medication.
 Although, this study also allows the effective to be questioned, this is because since the placebo group were taking no drug at all there should be a very high relapse rate within 80-90% however nearly half didn't relapse. This suggests that there could be a psychological effect acting out causing the reduction in relapse and thus undermining the effectiveness of the drugs.

Strengths Significantly reduce psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions allowing a patient to live a relativity normal life in the community without long hospital stays. Is an effective treatment but with BBT or psychotherapy it can become a highly effective treatment. These can have beneficial side effects such as increasing levels of attention and processing

Weaknesses Can have side bad side effects such as weight gain, drowsiness and sex life problems which cause people to stop taking the drug. Reductionist - does not look at combining two treatments and believes its only a biological cause thus needs a biological treatment. When people stop taking the drugs the symptoms reoccur - so the drug doesn't cure the disorder. There is no evidence for the effectiveness of neuroleptic drugs on treating negative symptoms .e.g. social withdrawal.

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